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Jerry Coleman, New York Yankee Second Baseman1948-1955, on
first seeing Joe DiMaggio

Jerry Coleman

The first time I saw DiMaggio was in spring training of 1948. I was trying to make the ball club. I didn't make it. I was the last man cut actually and I went over to Newark and joined the club later in September. But the first time I recall DiMaggio, he walked into the club house at Miller Huggins field, which was by today's standards rather shallow and not much to it. And he had on a Hawaiian shirt and had on a pair of slacks -- and in those days they wore the shirts out, you know, they hung down around the hips -- and I just looked at him. And that's all I could do was look at him. I didn't know what to say. And, of course, he looked bigger than life, as always. And, I don't even know if we played in the same games. That was in spring training.

The first real recognition that I had of DiMaggio was some time in 1949, in the spring, and I looked out in centerfield and there he was. And this was in spring training because he disappeared from the club that spring in Fort Worth and had his heel problem. But I thought, man o man, I'm on the same field with Joe DiMaggio. And I think everybody felt that way too because of his celebrity, you know, his great years that he had.

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